Recently two very low calorie ranch dressings popped up on my Pinterest feed, and I bookmarked them for a possible 5:2 salad idea. When I looked at them closer, I realized they were almost identical, but one used plain yogurt as a base, and the other used reduced fat cottage cheese.
The funny thing is, I rarely have plain yogurt on hand, and *never* use cottage cheese, but at that moment I happened to have both ingredients in my fridge, left over from recipes the week before!! I got embarassingly excited, grabbed a pack of ranch mix, and whipped both of them up right away. Both dressings ended up being about 11 calories per tablespoon, which is pretty amazing when compared to about 70 calories in a normal ranch dressing!!
On the left is the yogurt based dressing, which tasted just like bottled reduced-fat ranch. I don't really consider that a good thing! (The original recipe called for Greek yogurt, but the few times I tried Greek it had a very weird aftertaste. I should probably try a different brand!) This dressing didn't look as nice in person either, and was a little transparent and off white.
On the right is the real star, the cottage cheese based dressing. Once you mix in the seasoning, you blend the cheese until nice and smooth, and you are left with a nice, creamy ranch dressing that you won't believe is 'diet'.
The girl who posted the original recipe mixed her own seasonings, but complained that it tasted more like a 'dip' than a 'dressing'. I used the packaged mix on both to compare the bases, but I may try my own seasonings on a future batch. For now I just added a touch of Parmesan cheese and have been scooping up the deliciousness.
(For those of you counting calories, I've added the amount for each ingredient so you can easily make tweaks without having to re-calculate everything. Anything marked with an asterisk* will vary a lot based on what you buy, so make sure to compare your label.)
Super Low-cal Ranch Dressing
16 oz. (2 cups) low-fat cottage cheese (360)
1/2 cup water, plus more if needed (0)
1 pack ranch mix (2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp., 78)
2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese (76)
1) Add the cottage cheese and water to your blender (or a bowl, if using an imersion blender). Sprinkle the ranch mix and parmesan cheese over the top and blend until smooth.
2) The dressing will thicken when refrigerated, so see how it pours and add another 1-2 Tbsp. of water if needed to thin it out. You can also leave out a few tablespoons to make a thicker dip (the calories will be closer to 12 per Tbsp.).
Calories - 11.5 cal per Tbsp. (Makes 44+ Tbsp.)
Next time I'll be sharing a gigantic salad (over 3 cups!) I like to make with this dressing that is only 100 calories! This little beauty has been making diet days a breeze.